Gardening: More Important Today Than Ever Before

If you have never grown a garden before, now is the time.

No matter if you have acres of land or a small patio, you can grow veggies and herbs that you love. The cost of veggies has been rising over the past months and growing your own will save time and money. Of course, one potential challenge you may encounter is pest control, but there are many eco-friendly and affordable pest control services available to help you protect your garden and keep it thriving.

Let us first start with an apartment dweller, having a patio or anyone with limited outdoor space.

Container gardening

Containers can produce a bounty of veggies and herbs and they allow you to get your hands dirty in the soil. However, with the benefits of container gardening come some challenges, such as pest control. To ensure your garden thrives, Avoid DIY pest control and call the experts at Drake Lawn & Pest Control instead.

Using containers of all shapes and sizes and colors will house herbs and a variety of veggies from lettuce to tomatoes to squash to potatoes and so much more. Planting in a container decreases the need to weed, keeps animals from noshing on veggies as a snack, and allows you to keep a better eye on the soil conditions so you know when watering is needed which can be more frequently in a pot.

Placing large rocks (they can be decorative) on top of the soil will allow for even watering, and with additional watering comes additional fertilizing. If you find that a plant needs more sun or less sun, the container can easily be moved to the other side of the area allowing the plant to thrive. Containers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and you get to choose the look that will not only produce great veggies and herbs but is also pleasing to the eye. Make sure there are sufficient drainage holes to prevent root rot.

Placing some dry tree twigs at the bottom quarter of the container before adding the soil will help to absorb and retain the water.

Adding pots on the stairs into your space is another great place for growth and décor. Depending on the plant, you can also bring them indoors come colder months. Hanging planters for edible flowers is also appealing to the eye.

Some of my favorite plants for containers are:


• Basil (do I hear pesto anyone?)

• Cilantro (and do not forget adding to guacamole)

• Thyme

• Parsley

• Rosemary

• Sage

• Lemon balm (my favorite tea)


• Tomatoes

• Spinach

• Arugula

• Varieties of lettuce

• Potatoes (grown in a potato bag produces greenery, but most importantly beautiful potatoes)

• Peppers (all varieties)

The potting soil should be light with a slow-release fertilizer. Depending on your area and type of plants, you may want to consult with the gardening supply store as to the best soil necessary for growing container herbs, flowers and vegetables. Remember to fertilize as recommended for the plant to grow lush and tasty veggies and herbs.

Your plants will need direct sunlight of eight hours daily. Depending on your location, moving the containers may be needed to obtain the necessary lighting.


Both overwatering and underwatering can be detrimental to the plant. Seedlings need continuously moist water. Drainage or the use of self-watering vessels are important to the plant’s success.

More space? Awesome!Build raised beds or raised rows with wood, logs, or stone. These should be no wider than three to four feet (you want to be able to get to the center with ease) and as long as you like or space allows. Your location and the type of soil will determine what to add to your beds. A trip to the local garden center will provide you with answers and the tools you need.

With more space you can add variety and more plants. Some of my favorite garden plants are:

Tomatoes, eggplant, arugula, cabbage (yum sauerkraut!), sugar snap peas, zucchini, pumpkin, asparagus, potatoes, green beans, rhubarb (perennial), fruit trees (apple, pear), peppers, lettuce – varieties, variety of herbs (basil, thyme, sage, lemon balm, etc.).

Growing a garden year after year, no matter the type, needs a garden journal. This way you can be certain of the type of seeds or plants you used, the soil and fertilizer used, location of plants, the weather (especially last frost and if it was a rainy season) and more. I always enjoy planning and plotting my garden on paper in early spring. This way you make sure what plants to purchase and when to start the seedlings indoors.

Create a “symbol key” such as T for tomatoes, Z for zucchini, P for peppers, etc. as you plot locations.

A sketch of your garden will help in future planning especially with crop rotation. Initially you may want to jot down information daily as the spring garden is fast growing. Once established you may want to jot your notes weekly or bi-weekly.

Record pest information such as potato bugs or tomato worms. Do not forget harvest information such as yield from certain plants if using a variety. If you have questions, write them here as well.

Take your journal when visiting a fellow gardener or trip to the garden shop. And always take pictures. It is so much fun looking at gardens of the past.

Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at or contact her at 518-596-8565.Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at or contact her at 518-596-8565.